There is no end to the number of sites you can join offering group deals, but, cautions Les Mc Master, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), be aware that some group deals, especially relating to car servicing, may not be all they claim to be.
"Car owners need to understand that when it comes to servicing a vehicle, you can't cut corners. Servicing a car requires a professional and will have costs associated - there's no getting around it. A professional car service ensures your car remains road worthy and keeps you safe," he says.
Mc Master points out that consumers need to be aware that the company managing the group deal also takes a cut of the price offering, sometimes up to 50% of the price, which means the service provider is probably not making a profit. "The result is aggressive up-selling and sometimes misrepresentation of what the deal includes. A recent example brought to our attention offered a car service for R99, of which the value advertised was R899. Assuming the company managing the deal took a 50% cut of the deal, the service provider was allegedly doing each service for less than R50 a vehicle. This amount won't even cover the cost of oil and an oil filter," explains Mc Master.
It was not surprising that once the car owner took the vehicle in for the service, the service provider explained that additional repairs were needed, at an additional cost, before the service could be done. "The reality is that with a deal of this nature, workshop owners are really only offering a car check which should be followed by a quote for what the service requirements are. Consumers need to be fully aware that even a basic service will have costs associated. There's just no getting around it."
The key, says Mc Master, is finding a workshop, such as a MIWA accredited workshop who will give you the best service and good-quality parts at an affordable price. "If you are seriously considering buying into a deal, make sure you read and understand the fine print and if, in doubt, contact the service provider for more information before buying into the deal. Don't be fooled into buying into deals that sound too good to be true. In all likelihood they are!" he concludes.
For information on accredited MIWA workshops around the country, car owners can visit www.miwa.co.za